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Pinder Promotes Intellectual Property Protection

Commitments undertaken in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union oblige The Bahamas to modernising its intellectual property regime to international best practices, Financial Services Minister L. Ryan Pinder warned.

“The need for a modernised regime is heightened by way of our desire to become members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which, like the EPA, requires strong intellectual property protections,” he said.

“The Bahamas must integrate into the global economy, not merely because of trade obligations, but because it is necessary for our economic survival and growth to ensure we are always providing new and relevant opportunities for Bahamians.”

Mr. Pinder was the keynote speaker at a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) seminar on Monday on the Role of Intellectual Property Systems in Enhancing the Competitiveness of Business and Industries.

WIPO is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks, designs, et cetera) as a means of stimulating innovation and creativity.

In anticipation of this integration, said Mr. Pinder, the Government must ensure that the necessary institutional infrastructure is established to render the country in the most favourable position possible to take advantage of what lies ahead.

A modern Internet protocol (IP) system “is one of these essential infrastructural investments,” Mr. Pinder said.

IP structures strive to prevent unauthorised usage of the works of musicians and visual artists, for example, and in circumstances when infringement occurs, penalties ensue, he said.

“The evolution of the creative industry, especially among our young entrepreneurs, is a matter of priority for the Government and the Ministry of Financial Services, however, the adequate protections must be put in place,” he added

The Government, he said, is “committed” to ensuring that the necessary infrastructure and legislative reforms are in place to provide opportunities for Bahamians to participate in the global marketplace.

IP also benefit producers of goods who want to trademark and market their products, he said.

“IP prohibits other entities from passing off their potentially subpar goods as the authentic version which in many instances can harm brand recognition and reputation,” said Mr. Pinder.

“We are committed to further developing our economic model, causing The Bahamas to be a trade and industry hub for the region.

“In order, however, to expect international companies who have as their asset technology, inventions or other forms of intellectual property as a component of their business and production, we need to ensure that their intellectual property can be protected here and internationally in order to expect them to do business in The Bahamas.

“The economic development of The Bahamas, as a trade and industrial jurisdiction is predicated on having the necessary legislation, infrastructure and compliance with international best practices. This is an underpinning of the initiatives of the Government of The Bahamas in intellectual property reform.”

The Bahamas recently entered into a trade support loan with the Inter-American Development Bank which has a number of components, he said.

A primary one includes support for Customs reform, the agency responsible for intellectual property enforcement at the border.

There is also a key component of the loan that provides support for the intellectual property registrar managed by the Attorney General office, he said.

“This infrastructure reform is currently underway and will provide a modern, efficient platform in intellectual property for the further development of the economy of The Bahamas, both domestically and globally,” said Mr. Pinder.

By Bahamas Information Services

Posted in Business

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